Host the Perfect Fall Dinner Party with Items from Goodwill

I’m Julia, a lifestyle blogger from New England, and I’m here today to show you how to host a fall themed dinner party with nearly everything purchased at my local Goodwill® stores in Maine.

Here are five simple tips to help your event go off without a hitch!

Radio with hand-written autumn songs playlist.

Make a playlist first. The songs you choose will set the pace and mood of the event, and it’s easy to decide the rest from there. Include familiar songs for your audience, but add some new songs, too! If you expose your guests to their new favorite artist, they’re sure to come to your next party.

To me, acoustic guitar coupled with warm, smooth vocals exemplifies fall. Goodwill has an amazing musical selection if you need to beef up your collection, and the crackly hum of their records will set such a wonderful tone for an autumn event.

Handcrafted invitation to a fall dinner party.

If you want your party to be fun, invite fun people — simple as that. Include some of your close friends who will be willing to help out if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

How will your guests interact and what will they expect from your party? Invitations will offer your guests something tangible in anticipation of the event and should enhance your turn out.

Goodwill has lots of crafting supplies that can inspire you to have fun while making your invitations!

Slice of apple pie with ice cream on top.

Are there any vegans/vegetarians, diabetics, or children on your guest list? Anyone with food allergies? Make sure that there are options for everyone so your guests aren’t left feeling unsatisfied.

For fall, harvest foods similar to those at Thanksgiving are comforting and will set the mood for cool weather outside and a warm gathering inside. Ciders and ales are great choices for fall parties, but throw a wine in there to make sure that everyone has an option they’ll enjoy (and, of course, don’t forget non-alcoholic drinks).

For less formal events, ask guests to provide their own drinks, but make sure you have a small supply for anyone who forgets.


Dinner table, set with plates and decorations for a party.

Having a color scheme will help you pull things together even if they’re thrifted from different locations and eras. Thrifting dinnerware from Goodwill is an inexpensive way to provide a unique table setting.

Warm, deep colors like browns, reds, and oranges give the room a cozy and festive autumn feel. You can also get some really great supplies to make decorations by hand. Here’s a fun tutorial for making bunting from fabric found at Goodwill!

List of steps to create bunting.



Two men attending a fall dinner party.

Will people be moving around or mostly stationary at your dinner party? Are there places like hallways where traffic may jam up? The dining area should be well lit, so people can see their plates, but not so bright that conversation won’t flourish.

Place cards let you seat people near others that they have something in common with, and it’s considerate to seat smokers, or parents with babies near a door so they can slip out without too much of a hassle if necessary.

The best part of planning your party this way is that by purchasing your bits and pieces at Goodwill you’ll help to strengthen your own community. The money you spend goes to people who live in your community and need assistance with job training or daily tasks, and, thanks to Goodwill, they learn new skills every day for independent living.

Hopefully these tips will help you plan your next event –Thanksgiving, perhaps?

Dinner party attendees sit around a table.

Read more thrifting, vintage and DIY posts from Julia on her blog, Jeeze, Julia!